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Background The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends the use of spirometry and measuring the fraction of exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) as part of the diagnostic workup for children with suspected asthma, and spirometry for asthma monitoring, across all care settings. However, the feasibility and acceptability of these tests within primary care are not known. Aim To investigate the feasibility, acceptability, training, and capacity requirements of performing spirometry and FeNO testing in children managed for asthma in UK primary care. Design and setting Prospective observational study involving 10 general practices in the East Midlands, UK, and 612 children between 2016 and 2017. Method Training and support to perform spirometry and FeNO in children aged 5 to 16 years were provided to participating practices. Children on the practice’s asthma registers, and those with suspected asthma, were invited for a routine asthma review. Time for general practice staff to achieve competencies in performing and/or interpreting both tests, time to perform the tests, number of children able to perform the tests, and feedback on acceptability were recorded. Results A total of 27 general practice staff were trained in a mean time of 10.3 (standard deviation 2.7) hours. Usable spirometry and FeNO results were obtained in 575 (94%) and 472 (77%) children respectively. Spirometry is achievable in the majority of children aged ≥5 years, and FeNO in children aged ≥7 years. All of the staff and 97% of families surveyed provided positive feedback for the tests. Conclusion After training, general practice staff obtained quality spirometry and FeNO data from most children tested. Testing was acceptable to staff and families. The majority of general practice staff reported that spirometry helped them to manage children’s asthma better.

Original publication




Journal article


British Journal of General Practice

Publication Date





E809 - E816